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Exhibit’s photos meld art, science

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By Sara Miller

For many people, art and science don’t mix. However, scientists and artists have shared an interdisciplinary connection for centuries. Artists relied upon the work of biologists to learn how to properly depict anatomic details of the animal kingdom. Conversely, scientist relied on artists’ works as a teaching guide to illustrate scientific texts. In an upcoming Evergreen exhibit by microbiologist-turned-photographer Michael Gabridge, viewers will see that the boundaries between art and science, while once believed to be conventionally steadfast, are unexpectedly fluid.

Gabridge began his career as a professor of microbiology and taught at some of the most respected universities in the country. In the midst of his research and publication, Gabridge began photographing his own specimens. What evolved was a body of photographic renderings of the natural world. These were not your typical photographs, however. Gabridge’s first “art” consisted of photographs of bacterial colonies of salmonella and E. coli in a petri dish.

After years spent with an eye focused on a microscope and a camera focused on a petri dish, one is bound to develop his own artistic sensibility. Gabridge, who has hung up his lab coat and devotes his retirement entirely to photography, has created a synthesis of the seemingly dichotomous fields of science and art. The photographic proof will be on display in March and April at the Center for the Arts’ Rotary Gallery at Center/Stage Theater.

“I’d like people to develop an appreciation for the natural world, especially when viewed close-up,” Gabridge says. “We all enjoy the mountain. Too infrequently we step up and examine things closely — revel in the beauty and the symmetry. Most other nature photographers are looking up. I’m the guy in the forest looking down.”

Although Gabridge photographs his fair share of mountain ranges, his close-up photos and macro-views are his obvious passion. One such photograph titled “Waveform” is filled with undulating waves of bright yellow and orange that appear to glow from within. Gabridge reveals that “Waveform” is actually a photograph of light passing through the translucent layers of the gills of a mushroom.

“I’ve become intrigued with some particularly ordinary specimen that turned out to more photographic the more you look at them,” says Gabridge.

Several years ago, Gabridge began a photographic exploration at his local farmers market. The series, which he calls “Very Vegan,” consists of 12-by-12-inch photos that bring to life the whimsy and artistry of everyday fruits and vegetables.

Gabridge, who recently relocated to Evergreen from Estes Park, has had his artwork in numerous galleries in Colorado and has been in juried shows around the country. A selection from his photographic offerings was chosen in a national competition for publication in the “Best of Photography Annual” by Photographer's Forummagazine.

Gabridge’s exhibition open Friday, March 1. In cooperation with the Center for the Arts Evergreen, the Evergreen Chorale will host a wine-and-cheese reception for the exhibit’s opening from 6 to 7 p.m. that evening in the Rotary Gallery at Center/Stage. The reception will immediately precede a performance of the award-winning musical “1776.” The reception is free to the public, or visitors may purchase tickets that include Gabridge’s reception and admittance to the Evergreen Chorale performance of “1776.”

For more information, visit Gabridge’s website at www.michaelgphotography.comor the Chorale website at www.evergreenchorale.org  to reserve tickets.

Sara Miller, a freelance writer and a resident of Evergreen, lives with her husband, two children and a dog.

Wine-and-cheese opening reception

In cooperation with the Center for the Arts Evergreen, the Evergreen Chorale will host a wine-and-cheese reception for the opening of an exhibit by photographer Michael G. Gabridge on Friday, March 1, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Rotary Gallery at Center/Stage, followed by a performance of the award-winning musical “1776.”
Tickets to the event are $25 for adults and $21 for seniors (62 and over) and students, and include the reception and that evening’s show. Reservations are required; call Center/Stage at 303-674-4002 and leave a message, or visit www.evergreenchorale.org.
Gabridge specializes in nature photography and has recently moved to Evergreen. His distinctive graphics will grace the walls of the Rotary Gallery in the theater lobby during March and April. This professor-turned-photographer offers a unique perspective by featuring close-up views of the natural world.
This is the final weekend for the Evergreen Chorale’s production of “1776,” a fascinating and fun look inside the events surrounding the writing of the Declaration of Independence. The show is renowned for its music, humor and historical accuracy; much of the dialogue is taken directly from the writings of the founding fathers themselves.